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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Death Sentences for Five Ginbot 7 Defendants

VZCZCXRO2982
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #2982/01 3561454
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221454Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7235
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 002982

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: DEATH SENTENCES FOR FIVE GINBOT 7 DEFENDANTS

REF: ADDIS ABABA 02916

THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) In a packed courtroom on December 22, Ethiopia's Federal High
Court sentenced 40 Ginbot 7 defendants (reftel). The Court
sentenced five defendants to death, 33 defendants to life terms, and
two defendants to 10 years. The charges in which the defendants
were convicted included: conspiracy against the constitutional
system; conspiracy to destroy government institutions; attempted
assassination of government officials; and inciting rebellion within
the army. The defendants showed little emotion as the sentences
were read aloud, while relatives openly cried. The presiding judge
Adem Ibrahim explained that the court rejected the prosecutor's
request to sentence all defendants to death (except the two who
pleaded guilty, stating that the death sentence is reserved for
dangerous criminals only. The Court handed down the death sentence
to the convicted political leaders of the plot (including Dr.
Berhanu Nega) and those who were sentenced in the past for criminal
acts. Lawyers for the defendants have the option to appeal these
sentences to the Supreme Court.

2. (U) Many defendants previously petitioned the Court for sentence
leniency based on their long years of service to their country,
family status, lack of previous criminal record, and poor health
condition. The Court said it rejected the Prosecutor's request to
confiscate properties of three defendants(Brigadier General Teferra
Mamo, Asamnew Tsige, and Tsige Habtemaryam). The Court did rule to
confiscate the properties of Dr. Berhanu Nega, Getu Worku, Alehubel
Amare, Andargachew Tsige, and Yaregal Yimam, all whom were convicted
in absentia. The Court stated this decision would not affect any
property owned by their spouses.

3. (SBU) PolAsst as well as representatives from the German and
Canadian embassies attended the sentencing hearing alongside
international and local journalists.

4. (U) The complete list of names of those convicted and their
sentences are as follows:

Death sentence (5 defendants):
--Melaku Teferra
--Dr. Berhanu Nega (charged in abstentia)
--Muluneh Eyoel (charged in abstentia)
--Andargachew Tsige (charged in abstentia)
--Mesfin Aman (charged in abstentia)

Life sentence (33 defendants):
--Alehubel Amare (charged in abstentia)
--Yaregal Yimam (charged in abstentia)
--Dan (full name not available; charged in abstentia)
--Aweke Afewerk (charged in abstentia)
--Dereje Habtewold (charged in abstentia)
--Daniel Assefa (charged in abstentia)
--Chekol Getahun (charged in abstentia)
--Efrem Madebo (charged in abstentia)
--Fasil Yenealem (charged in abstentia)
--Brigadier General Teferra Mamo
--Asamnew Tsige
--Tsige Habtemaryam
--Ato Mengistu Abebe
--Lt. Col. Solomon Ashagre
--Lt. Col. Alemu Getenet
--Major Mesekere Kassa
--Lt. Col. Getachew Berele
--Captain Temesgen Bayleyegn
--Getu Worku
--Lt. Col. Fantahun Muhaba
--Lt. Col. Abere Asefa
--Major Misganaw Tessema
--Ato Yeshiwas Mengesha
--Emawayish Alemu
--Lt. Col. Demsew Anteneh
--Yeshiwas Mitiku
--Gobena Belay
--Amerar Bayabil
--Ato Goshirad Tsegaw
--Wudneh Temesgen
--Yibeltal Birhanu
--Major Mekonen Worku
--Ato Kifle Sinshaw


ADDIS ABAB 00002982 002 OF 002


Ten years rigorous imprisonment and deprivation of civil rights for
four years for those who pleaded guilty (2 defendants):

--Major Adugna Alemayehu
--Major Adefris Asaminew

MUSHINGI

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